Christie’s looks for re­al­is­tic re­turns

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Dubai

The global eco­nomic slow­down and “se­lec­tive de­mand” are push­ing Christie’s to seek more re­al­is­tic prices for their col­lec­tions, di­rec­tors of the auc­tion house said on Sun­day.

“This year, the mar­ket is not at the same level as it was one year or two years ago. We are fac­ing a more chal­leng­ing mar­ket,” Guil­laume Cer­ruti, Christie’s pres­i­dent for Europe, the Mid­dle East, Rus­sia and In­dia, tells jour­nal­ists in Dubai.

“To face this sit­u­a­tion, the key word for us is se­lec­tiv­ity,” he says, an­nounc­ing two auc­tions this week in the glitzy Gulf emi­rate, one on mod­ern and con­tem­po­rary art and another show­cas­ing Im­por­tant-Watches.

“We want to have sales that are well cu­rated, sales with maybe fewer ob­jects but of high qual­ity at ... re­al­is­tic es­ti­mates,” he says.

In Tues­day’s auc­tion of 113 art­works, the high­est es­ti­mated price has been set at $180,000— far lower than the $400,000 price tag on paint­ings sold in March this year.

Around 150 watches go up for auc­tion on Wed­nes­day, with es­ti­mated prices reach­ing $250,000.

Among them are two Patek Philippe 18K white-gold au­to­matic wrist­watches with the Iraqi coat of arms and the name “Sad­dam”. Ex­e­cuted Iraqi pres­i­dent Sad­dam Hus­sein or­dered the watches in 1974 and 1980 as gifts.

Their prices are es­ti­mated at $10,000 and $18,000 each.

Lon­don-based Christie’s, which cel­e­brates its 250th an­niver­sary on Dec 5, says its sales at Dubai auc­tions have ex­ceeded $300 mil­lion since it opened a branch in the emi­rate 10 years ago.


An au­to­matic wrist­watch in Patek Philippe 18K white-gold at a Christie’s show in Dubai.

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